As a keen (though not particularly proficient!) dancer, I’d love to spend a holiday learning a some new steps, as well as enjoying the food and weather. Where are the best places to learn to boogie?
Put ‘dance holidays’ into a search engine and you will be overwhelmed with results, including companies that do nothing else but sell holidays for the twinkle-toed, but here’s my suggestions for a few holidays that should fit the bill.
The La Fuente flamenco school in Andalucia, southern Spain, offers courses in the country’s most passionate dance. There are three levels of classes according to experience, and each focuses on technique and choreography, with lessons lasting half a day, leaving the rest of the day free.
There’s an option to visit a flamenco club to watch a performance and a final evening for all students to show off their new-found skills to the accompaniment of a flamenco guitarist. It’s in a stunning location in the village of La Alpujarra on the edge of the Sierra Nevada National Park.
In addition to the dancing, there’s also the chance to do Spanish language classes, hiking, horse riding and painting. Accommodation is in the Mesón-Hostal Poqueira, which is seconds from the school, and has a restaurant and swimming pool. A week-long course costs from E295 plus accommodation from E180 a week B&B.
The Vienna ball season may be over but you can still dance the waltz in the Austrian capital. At Tanzschule Hernals Grossman there are a number of courses including the 12-night waltz course, which costs E144 per person. There’s also hip pop, children’s workshops and foxtrot. Alternatively you can take private lessons for E49 an hour, which includes coffee and cake afterwards, the other thing Vienna is famous for.
As for where to stay in Vienna, the Levante Parliament hotel is a modern, 67-bedroom hotel in the centre of town, only a few hundred metres from the Vienna City Hall. It has a gym, sauna and massage room and costs from E130 a night.
If Buenos Aires is a little too far to learn Argentina’s fieriest dance, you could try the Club Dance Holidays break in Germany. It costs £349 for the three-night break, which includes two hours of tuition each day, nights out dancing the tango, B&B accommodation in a three-star hotel, Hotel Berlin Mark, and there’s a tour rep to guide you through the holiday. The company also offers tango in Granada for seven nights – a perfect opportunity to combine dancing with sightseeing.
That other famous Latino dance is the salsa, and one of the most inspiring places to master it is Santiago de Cali, a city in the west of the country that boasts over 200 salsa schools. Sondeluz Academy, near San Antonio, is one of them and trains champs as well as beginners.
Private classes start at around £60 for up to 12 hours of tuition, which leaves plenty of money to spend in the city’s many wonderful salsa clubs, whether you’re just there to watch and learn or try some steps. A couple of clubs that come highly recommended are the small but lively Zaperoco on Thursday nights, and Changó, on the edge of town in the Juanchito district.
As for where to stay, try the Hotel Posada de San Antonio, a pretty yellow building on Carrera 5 that was a family mansion built in 1902. It costs from £20 a night and has many of its original features including a pretty garden.